Friends of the Dillon Ranger District grows up with funding and projects |

Friends of the Dillon Ranger District grows up with funding and projects

LINDSEY KRUSENsummit daily newsSummit County CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY – What’s in a job title? For Guff Van Vooren, executive director of Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD), there’s a lot more than a full-time contract salary (which she secured this year for the first time) and a 9-to-5 schedule. “The adventure lines up perfectly with the things I value the most,” the woman at the head of the organization that provides local service and support to the Dillon Ranger District, said. Last year, FDRD boasted 902 on-the-ground volunteer days and 5,500 volunteer hours. Chances are, the people that made those numbers swell had attitudes that lined up with Van Vooren’s. “FDRD gives me, and I believe other folks, an opportunity to connect to each other and to our local National Forest lands,” she said. “I really believe these connections provide us with ways we can improve ourselves within this role.” And in the context of the FDRD’s efforts, self improvement has come at the benefit of the Dillon Ranger District’s lands. The organization was recognized by the Rocky Mountain Regional Forester, which manages 17 national forests and seven national grasslands, with the Caring for the Land Stewardship Award. The award is given to groups that help the Forest Service provide better service. “We look forward to many more years of this collaborative partnership,” said Kathryn Davis Grohusky, FDRD board president. This year, Van Vooren said she was working on growing the Forest Stewards program, which implements ongoing volunteer opportunities, like adopt-a-trail opportunities, ranger patrols and youth and family options. The ability to expand programs like Forest Stewards comes from the additional funding FDRD has received in the past year, according to Van Vooren. With continued growth, Van Vooren said FDRD is hoping to add a part-time volunteer coordinator. That position would be well-utilized in FDRD’s big summer plans. In conjunction with the Forest Stewards program, FDRD has eight service projects planned throughout the warmer months. For an organization that started in 2004 with a simple call for help from the Dillon Ranger District, the grassroots explosion is obvious. FDRD has gone from having no grant funding three years ago to a bevy of public, private and corporate sponsorships that doubled combined 2004-2005 amounts in 2006. Attend the FDRD annual partyJoin FDRD for their third-annual Party and Membership Drive on Monday, March 19 from 6-8 p.m. at the Frisco Rec Building, 110 3rd Street in Frisco (corner of 3rd and Granite). FDRD and the community will celebrate local natural resource management organization’s volunteer efforts. FDRD will share 2006 program impacts and present 2007 summer volunteer offerings and the Summit County Summer Volunteer Calendar. Participating calendar organizations will host information booths. Snacks and beverages will be provided throughout the evening. For more information on FDRD, visit, or contact Guff Van Vooren at (970) 389-6058.Summer volunteer projectsOngoing: Forest Stewards program. Visit for detailsMay 19: Town Clean Up/Forest Clean UpJune-September: Adopt-A-Trail projects (five per month)June 23, July 21, Aug. 25, Sept. 15: Town of Frisco Mt. Royal TrailJune 2: National Trails Day, forest restorationJune 28-29: VOC-FDRD Mahan Lake Trail DaysAug. 11: Fuels reduction, fire mitigationSept. 8-9: CDTA-FDRD Webster Pass Trail DaysSept. 29: National Public Lands Day, volunteer celebrationOct. 13: Make a Difference Day